“Life used to be so hard. Now everything is easy ’cause of you.”

“…once you walked into that front door, everything disappeared …and then I started to think, you know, God, that’s an incredibly domestic scene, you know, here we are, Joni Mitchell and Graham Nash, and I’m, you know, put flowers in the vase and light the fire and stuff, and I thought, but you know, I love this woman, and this moment is a very grounded moment… in our relationship, and… I sat down at the piano and, an hour later, ‘Our House’ was done.” – Graham Nash

At twenty-five, the lure of relaxing and pseudo-domesticity looks really damn good.  Sometime recently, I came to terms with the fact I work too much mostly because I’m running away from something, probably some strange combination of loneliness or fear to be comfortable in my own skin, in my own space, in my own home.  The first thing to do when you realize you have a problem is devise a strategy (or multiple strategies) to fix it.  So after a few months, expressing my views, needs, and desires at my jobs, and internally deciding on career plans and timelines for various life changes, I put everything into motion.  I talked to my bosses about moving up and started working full time for the bank, while keeping a part-time status making coffee in the morning.  My days are longer, but I have completely free days off nowadays, and even if it is once per week, I get a good night’s rest the night before and do all my chores (and vices) the day of.

Not very often do repressed memories come back to me where I become absolutely infatuated with them. This week’s bizarre moment of déjà vu comes from the album Déjà Vu, released by the band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in 1970. The song “Our House” used to be in my piano repertoire back in high school and suddenly disappeared.  “Our House” is an interesting track on Déjà Vu in context to the rest of the album. CSNY was strongly associated to the hippie counterculture that promoted the free love movement. Many of the other songs follow suite, but “Our House” sticks out like a sore thumb. This iconic song of glorifying home life just doesn’t belong on the album, but I guess that’s the point.  Even with all the crazy drug use and rampant promiscuity going on during the era, Graham Nash managed to fall in love.  A comfortable, monogamous love, with none other than the legendary free-spirited Joni Mitchell, impetus of the folk rock movement at the time.  In a time where young people loved to love anyone, Graham loved to love Joni.

I listened to Déjà Vu a lot growing up and sang through a lot of the songs with my guitar-playing mom and aunt strumming through chord books in my childhood. When I became proficient in my own instrument, I played this song a lot, and then out of nowhere, I stopped.  The picturesque, serene, calming scene Graham Nash paints in his song made no sense to me, until recently. Probably because I didn’t understand it – I was young and coming from a small house in constant busy-noise and mild chaos. Flowers weren’t put in vases because they died, they stayed in the yard where God could water them, as my mother left them in blatant neglect. Lighting the fire was next to near impossible, unless it involved my father setting off the smoke detector when frying fish in the kitchen, or using the completely cosmetic fireplace to simulate logs aflame. Resting your head for five minutes? Absolutely not, because I had piano lessons on Tuesday, debate club on Wednesday, and after-school job on Thursday. This song, as much as I could fudge it, was no more personal to me than a Norman Rockwell painting on a card.

Then somewhere, along the way, I got it.  I want to not be so high-strung.  I want to not be so deliberate.  I want to be tied to something I can invest myself into – a career, some hobbies, something, someone I am truly passionate about.  I don’t know exactly what or who it is yet, but as I move through life, make a few wrong turns, backtrack, and revise some strategies, I feel as though I’m getting closer and closer to it.  I want to build a life and a home.  I want to be less of a Joni and more of a Graham.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

np: “Our House” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

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New Year, new resolutions

I made good on my New Year’s resolution in 2010, which was to go to see more shows, concerts, and musical acts. Twelve of them, actually, one for each month. I actually doubled that if anything, making my side-resolution in 2011 to see less shows. Hopefully when I’m done being stranded in Seattle, I’ll make a list, because the actual lineup was pretty impressive. While I saw more indie shows than anything, I also managed to hit up an outdoor concert, a couple of DJ sets, and an opera. Ticketmaster and Live Nation owned my soul and a couple of my paychecks, that’s for sure.

As for me, I’ve been doing pretty well. My overdriven life proceeded to make its way into 2011 in full-force. In the first seven days of the new year, I managed to be in four major cities in seven days – Boston, New York City, Seattle, and Vancouver. Not a bad start for someone who wants to travel more this year.

My main focuses for 2011 are:

1. Eat better. Eat less. Eat more vegetables. 2010 gave me the dinero to go out and try more types of food, but I still ate kind of crappily. I wish I had more space to cook, but that’s not really the case.
2. Exercise more, because exercise makes you happy. This should be easier since I have more of a set schedule at work, and I can work less and stress out less over money and a fluctuating work schedule. I can take days off, I can take weekends off, I can go to the gym without being piss-tired and putting in a half-hearted effort. The rush of exercise makes me happy and energetic, but this isn’t one of those “lose twenty pounds” resolutions. To be honest, I don’t even own a scale.
3. Travel because you can. Because of my reckless fervor of Seattle-longing I’m more privvy to airfare deals. I want to take four trips this year, easy since I’m already on a trip now (duh) and PAX Prime will definitely be on that list. Now that I have more days to take off and my schedule is more regular, I can actually plan this better. I definitely want to hit up Washington DC to hit up a dear friend who just moved in with his girlfriend there, and probably Chicago. My boss and I were talking over Facebook Chat today and he told me, “I’m surprised you don’t travel more”, to which I responded, “I will, this year, because I can”. Because I can.
4. Put money away into your Roth IRA, because if you don’t, then you’re just lazy. I can now really afford to put even chump change in it. The last thing I want to do is dick over a 65-year-old me.
5. Fall in love. No biggie if it doesn’t happen. None of this pussy-ass one-sided love, though. Something real. If not, I always have my teddy bear.

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How to change your DNS in Windows (damn you, Comcast!)

Quick post I made on how to change your DNS for dum-dums. Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.


Start -> Control Panel -> Network Connections -> Wireless Connection (or whichever you use for your internet)


Click “Properties”.


Highlight “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)” and hit “Properties” button.

8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 are Google’s DNSes.

Anyone watching Peyton Manning throwing like cray-cray at the Chargers today?

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Sunday Brunch at Sorella’s

A huge ball of tasty

The Neptune. The fuzzy aura around it represents my blurry vision after the food coma it put me through.

Brunch is a full-contact sport in New England. Like every sport in New England, everyone does it and is super-passionate about it. Because of my insane work schedule, rarely do I ever get to engage in this indulgent pastime, but recent rearrangements of my life has given me free Sunday mornings to brunch as I please.

Enter Christina, a fellow morning riser such as myself. Christina just recently moved to Jamaica Plain and suggested we hit up one of their great breakfast places, Sorella’s. Sorella’s is a few minutes from the 39 bus and a 5-minute walk from the Jackson Square stop on the Orange Line. I’ve never had a bad experience at Sorella’s, so I agreed, committing to being more adventurous aside from my usual eggs-meat-pancakes-hash brown-fare.

And, was I.

Enter the Neptune Omelette with salmon – a ball of deliciousness. Never did I think an omelette could be so rich I couldn’t finish it. The Neptune is loaded with everything, including some ingredients I just couldn’t catch because there were so many of them – garlic, basil, portabella mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, loads and loads of spinach, avocado, seaweed, gobs and gobs of goat cheese, and bean sprouts gracing the top. For a dollar extra I got more salmon than I could wrap my mind around. Every other bite was spicy, but there was so much in it I just couldn’t pin what was making it that way.

I couldn’t finish it. There was just so much. And it was divine. Don’t get me started on the fact that it was served with toast and hash browns.

The best part? Sorella’s is known for it’s out-of-this-world pancakes. Looks like I’ll need to make another visit to validate this claim… which I am completely and totally okay with.

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MBTA-win

Public transportation is a learning experience. As a chica who grew up in the pinnacle of upper-middle class white suburbia, it was expected that I stay totally dependent on some gas-guzzling vehicle, although my track record with keeping them intact was never good (and I didn’t even total them spectacularly! Goddamn freak occurrences!).

So it’s strange that with the help of the MBTA I’ve become a much more patient person. I get a lot done on the T, from reading to Tweeting to blogging (guess where I am right now!) but most importantly, napping. I couldn’t do that if I were driving, that’s for sure.

Some key points to remember about taking the T (or public transportation in general):

  1. It’s not always the T’s fault! Late or early or whatever, you don’t know what causes stuff. And more often than not, it’s not the driver’s fault. Remember, when some crazy guy tries to off himself on the super-electrical third rail, it’s not your driver who should hear your complaints; the drivers have to suffer longer than you (they have to complete the entirety of the route) AND then they also have to suffer you yelling at them. It costs miilions of your taxpayer dollars every time a crazy chooses to throw himself on the rail instead of off the Zakim. And that ain’t cheap either.
  2. Buses are awesome. Okay, maybe not really, but with the advent of GPS technology in Boston, they have become TONS better.  GPS technology is in its infancy in Boston and maybe once a week the tracking on the bus by my house goes down conveniently at the time I have to head downtown (I’m looking at you, 9:15 bus runs. Yeah, you) but if you know the buses in the area and you are technology-savvy you can take advantage of this!  That goes for you too, people with stupidphones.  This technology isn’t just restricted to expensive phones – you can text a preprogrammed stop number for free to a service that will immediately text you back with the same information you can get with an iPhone.   Check out the MBTA website for details, because they’re really plugging this tech.  And it’s well worth it.
  3. You are either saving a ton of money on car insurance or not owning a car at all. The T stops running at 12:30? So what? Splurge on a cab once in a while. Or start drinking earlier. Hur hur hur.

So tl;dr. Appreciate your public transportation system that allows many people to do a lot of cool things in a small but vibrant space for super-cheap. And thank your bus drivers and train drivers. If you pay your fare and aren’t a douche, they really haven’t done anything to deserve your ire, because they don’t control the traffic. So at least give ’em some respect.

With that said, I now take days off (gasp!) on Sunday (GASP!) to go to school (…yeah no relaxing for me). Although waking up early means exploring the much respected New England sport of brunching. Brunch is a true event in the Boston area that I don’t get to do often since I’m a workaholic, but today, I headed over to Sorella’s. More on that later!

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Chocolate-Cream Biscuits from our Fine 52nd State

While I was in Seattle for PAX Prime, my Canadian buddy Val and I were having a discussion about how foods are different in Canada vs. the United States based on what they and we can/can’t put in our food.  Discussions about how things like Corn Pops are slimy and different in the United States came up.  I’ve been going to Vancouver since I was a little girl and every time I did I’ve always remembered the discrepancy in the tastes.  Also, as an added bonus, post-trans fat regulation Oreos in the States taste much different than what they were before, but never really bothersome to me or noticeable.  Well, are Oreos really different in Canada?  Let’s find out:

CANADIAN OREOS:

SUGAR, ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR, COCONUT OIL SHORTENING, VEGETABLE OIL AND MODIFIED PALM WITH TBHQ AND  CITRIC ACID OR VEGETABLE OIL SHORTENING (VEGETALE, MODIFIED PALM, MODIFIED PALM KERNEL), COCOA,  CORN STARCH, GLUCOSE, SALT, SOYA LECITHIN, SODIUM BICARBONATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOUR.

AMERICAN OREOS:

SUGAR, UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE, MONONITRATE {B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {B2}, FOLIC ACID), HIGH OLEIC CANOLA OIL AND/OR PALM OIL AND/OR CANOLA OIL AND/OR SOYBEAN OIL, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORNSTARCH LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, SOY LECITHIN, VANILLIN – AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, CHOCOLATE.

Ooh la la!

Ooh la la! Om nom nom!

So basically, the ingredients list is completely different.  Stephie and I took one in the name of taste-testing yesterday and figured out that indeed, American Oreos are different — the cream is creamier and the chocolate biscuits are moister. You can’t do that pullapart thing that Oreos are known for here in the States; if you do try to twist them, the cookie falls apart because the cream is tougher.  As for the creamy taste, the Canadian filling is drier, but tastes pretty much the same.  The real difference is in the biscuit, and what you can really taste in the Canadian version is the shortening, which has absolutely no presence in the American version.  it’s probably why the biscuits taste drier, even though visually the cookie looks the same.

How do the nutrition facts stack up? Well, at first glance, the Canadian Oreos seem healthier, until you look at the serving size. A serving size of American cookies is 3 cookies, while Canadians only get the numbers for 2 cookies as portion control. American cookies have less saturated fat compared to Canadian ones (2 grams per 3 cookies as opposed to 3 grams for 2 cookies). All the other numbers are relatively comparable otherwise.

Food regulation different in every country and what you can and can’t put in your food vastly changes the taste. What foods and drinks do you find different when you travel abroad? Let me know, so I may consume all of them… err, I mean, perform semi-objective, scientific taste tests on them. Yeahhhh.

np: “Grow Up” by Chromeo

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Hi from the floor of Seattle-Tacoma Airport/35,000 feet up

First off, I’m trying to get this blog off the ground on mah webspace, provided by my awesome longtime friend Douglas. The WordPress software is openly hating my plugins so for now, I’ll just write here and import it when I have the time. We’ll see how that goes, methinks. I’d want some kickass table plugins, since WordPress really seems to not like me and my manual table codes. The problem with me is that once I have it in my head that I wanna do something a certain way, I will do what I can to implement it that way. The problem with that is my severe lack of coding knowledge is a setback to it. Hopefully stuff I can figure out over time.

This is a really good time of the year (and also in my life) to kickstart regular blog-writing. The summer is over and my super-obsessive work schedule is also over. My vacation is also over, but more on that later.  Also, nine years ago, around this time i started blogging over at LiveJournal, which is incidentally the last time I went to the Pacific Northwest.

Small laundry list of how awesome my summer was and things I’ve done:

Fall is fast approaching!  What to do?  What to write about?  What do you kids want to read about? The life and times of a mid-20’s babe-geek-gamer-jock-semihipster?  Cool Boston events? My awesome “I don’t give a fuck” attitude? Ask and ye shall receive.We’ll see how this goes!  More on PAX soon, when I need something to do while attempting to cure my jetlag.

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